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EVs, Solar Panels - why are these guys so anti-EV/PV??!!

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by rjcbox, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

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    http://seekingalpha.com/article/1751982-evs-solar-panels-and-free-lunch-sophistries?source=email_rt_article_readmore

    my response:

    While I agree w/ some points in this article, namely, "front-loading" the filth, when creating EVs or PV panels or even efficient gas-powered cars (albeit to a lesser extent), there are many incorrect assumptions. Why would I charge an EV only at night, when in a few daylight hours I can fill up w/ 300 miles range, using your Tesla example. Any excess solar energy created gets fed back into the grid, for others to use during peak-hours, hence lowering the overall need for coal-powered production. Also, even though the filth is "front-loaded," in the production of EVs/PVs, there is a break-even point, and there are PV systems in operation for over 30 years (most warranties for these system are decades long). And should we not strive for long-term solutions, cleaner solutions, than are available today, even if other less-developed countries use more coal? I'm sure you're aware of US's huge energy consumption vs. the rest of the world's, per population.
     
  2. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    What size is your EV array? kW?
     
  3. NuclearPowered

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    fair warning: JP article.
     
  4. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

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    PV array is 10.8kW, generates > 14,000kWh/yr - brings us to ~net-zero energy
     
  5. David_Cary

    David_Cary Member

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    JP is amazing. But his beef seems to be with subsidies and I think he is right. And then the reality that it is hard to get to 7 billion EVs powered by solar.

    And he feels that as the US and Europe reduce their oil use, the rest of the world will buy it up. He is right.

    Overall he is just very pessimistic about resources going forward and expects a world economic collapse because of it. So he is actually an environmentalist is a sense but he has given up on a solution short of deindustrialization. I suppose he might be right....
     
  6. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    It's interesting that JP is always fretting that we'll run out of some metal or mineral, lithium or cobalt, while at the same time he seems completely undisturbed by the prospect of running out of oil. Of course, we won't really "run out" of either - the cost to extract will keep going up, crowding out low-value uses. JP is stuck in the old Club of Rome Limits to Growth thinking that has been so roundly disproved by the last 40 years.

    Nonetheless, I share JP's concern that we've created a large and growing industry that is, by and large, entirely dependent on government subsidies. "Subsidy seeking" is rarely a high-value economic activity from a societal POV. The problem goes back to the unwillingness of most societies to levy an appropriate carbon tax, remove all subsidies on renewable energy and other carbon-reducing measures, and let 'er rip. Absent such a broad-based tax, governments end up in a more command-and-control policy approach, using subsidies to pick winners. Solar is undoubtedly part of the "best technology" set, but I'm equally convinced that current policies over-encourage solar and under-encourage other investments such as energy efficiency and smart-grid management.
     
  7. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Funny how he ignores the fact that lead is probably in a worse situation, and would be in severely short supply if automotive batteries weren't recycled at 98% levels.

    Such as the oil industry?
     
  8. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    The "oil" industry will prosper with or without subsidies. The same is not true about the green industry, such as PV, EV, wind power, etc. Those industries depend heavily on subsidies.
     
  9. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Oil is dying; The future belongs to PV, EV, Wind and Hydro. In 2020 the Balance of system cost for PV will be <$1/w or <$0.02/kWh for most areas.
     
  10. donauker

    donauker Member

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    But if the oil industry had to bear the cost of and pass on to their customers all of the direct and indirect costs of their product, the PV, EV and wind power industries would need no subsidies to thrive.
     
  11. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Agreed -- a carbon tax would be a good start on how to charge those costs. But the "no new taxes" coalition in DC will block anything that smells of a carbon tax.
     
  12. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    I think the oil and coal lobbies fund the "no new taxes" coalition so they can keep using that excuse to block a carbon tax.
     
  13. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    And the financial services lobby funds everyone else to try and get cap-and-trade instead.
     
  14. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    It's hard for me to get past that line.
    You can quibble over whether large stationary power plants are 2 or 8 times more efficient than automobile engines, but you can't realistically argue that it's a zero sum game.


    The thing is that all the organizations whose primary motivation is the environment all seem to think that electric cars and PV systems are good for the environment.
    The organizations/people whose primary motivation is using energy that destroys the environment all seem to think that electric cars are bad for the environment.

    =-=-=-=-=-=

    I will say this, though:
    His point that PV electrons don't care if they're powering a car or a toaster is true, and something I feel like we overlook in our threads that talk about our cars being solar powered.
    I have a PV system. I have an electric car. but my PV system doesn't power my car. My PV system powers the neighborhood's toasters during the day while my car is powered by natural gas plants at night.

    Regardless, PV is good for the environment. EVs are good for the environment. Anyone telling you differently has an agenda that isn't motivated by the environment.
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Right... that is just an argument from ignorance. It's much easier to build a machine that is cleaner and more efficient if it's allowed to weigh many tons and take up large amounts of space.
     
  16. Dan5

    Dan5 Member

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    Here's another way to think about it.

    There is a certain base load, that has to be running all the time regardless ( some plants get taken off line due to seasonal variability)

    Now you have day time usage. Of everyone had solar, and we could run off solar exclusively, then you switch and the baseload and excess energy can be stored and used for night time uses.

    What your solar does is decrease the number of inefficient peak load plants.

    What an EV does is increase the baseload. Base load plants are typically more efficient than their peak load counter parts.

    Ideally solar could be used for peak and the baseload could be used to a higher degree since EVs would increase the baseload.
     
  17. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Just to be clear, there is never "excess" generation. "Base load" plants can and do ramp up and down as load changes. Generators that are normally operated at SOME level 24/7 are called "base load," but they might only operate at 30% capacity overnight.

    Electricity is really, really expensive to store. We know those from our EVs, and it's hardly easier at grid scale.

    If skies were cloudless so that solar was fully predictable, we could run grids with the base load + solar vision you lay out, but in fact we need to have a bunch of dispatchable gas-fired plants fired up and ready to fill the gaps that unexpected changes in renewable output or in demand cause.
     
  18. omgwtfbyobbq

    omgwtfbyobbq Member

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    That's the great part of a renewable roll-out. We already have a ton of load following natural gas, so the more renewables we add to the grid, the more excess capacity we have from existing generation.
     
  19. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Well, perhaps now that's true. There used to be periods when hydro plants just had water dumped over the spillway, or where coal plants were "unhooked" from the grid with big switches while still keeping the fires going. I guess that doesn't happen so much any more.
     
  20. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    Here in Germany the problem is that solar generation replaced gas-fired peak load plants and made whole sale electricity prices for mid-day peak plummet to where base load prices used to be. Gas fired plants don' earn enough money when running and don't have enough operation hours over the year to cover stand-by costs. Power companies submit requests to the grid authority to shut down their gas fired plants. Either that or get compensation for "generation capacity reserve" to have the plant ready in stand by for most of the year.
     

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